Teeth of the Sea images by Nick Wesson
The last thing a man needs when fighting a shitty cold and an evil hangover is power electronics, but that’s the magic of another killer Leave Me Here bill. As it was, Platemaker’s static-and-feedback sturm und drang was just what the doctor ordered and set things up nicely for a truly remarkable night. Blown Out – last minute replacements for Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – were on typically strong form. Every time I see them I’m reminded that the John Michael Hedley/Matthew Baty rhythm section is a truly wonderful thing, there’s so much groove in those basslines, so much swing in those drums. Mike Vest’s guitar – normally the focus of his many bands – is secondary here and I’m sure he doesn’t mind one bit. Next time somebody does one of those clickbait ‘Why Newcastle Is Mint’ pieces, they really need to include Blown Out in between the pizzas at Cal’s Own and the view from the High Level Bridge.
Despite being immersed in their new Highly Deadly Black Tarantula album for a few weeks now, and despite having seen Teeth of The Sea play blinding gigs in the past, tonight’s set was a revelation. Nobody is doing what they’re doing right now: their mix of electronic flourishes and staccato beats, intense churning industrial bottom end, sheets of metal guitar and Miles Davis/Morricone trumpet peals shouldn’t work but does, brilliantly. It’s always a joy to see a band hit their stride like this, the disparate styles of their previous albums coming together perfectly, and Mat Colgate’s jubilant air punches suggested they were feeling it too. This is post-everything music, a psych-prog-noise explosion that is in your face and groovy as hell all at once (there were bearded doomheads dancing at this gig who I’d long assumed had a clause in their contract with Satan forbidding such nonsense, such is the infectiousness of TOTS’ rhythms). Something about the way Sam’s trumpet rises above the maelstrom hits you right in the feels and made me wonder if that’s their secret ingredient, such an unusual sound in this kind of context and all the lovelier for it. A typical – and typically frustrating – early curfew (for DJs or somesuch) robbed us of what would surely have been a magnificent encore with Responder but you’d have to be a lunatic to feel short-changed after what preceded it. A truly special night and everybody there knew it.